Voting deemed more important than abstaining

The next four years of the future of the United States of America relies heavily on the results of what will go down tomorrow at the elections.

With the presidential election coming up this Tuesday, November 8th, anyone eligible to vote – including high schoolers at least 18 years of age – are feeling the pressure to choose the right candidate. It has been said time and time again that the voting between this year’s candidates has become a matter of “the lesser of two evils.” Many have gone on to say that it would be perhaps easier to sit out the process, and not vote at all.

Higher voter turnout makes the democracy more representative; voting is a privileged right, one that many countries are still struggling to gain; and the margin of victory that a candidate wins by is actually rather important, according to The Huffington Post.

“I think it’s important for people to vote because it gives everyone a voice. It’s a civic responsibility that should not be taken lightly because it keeps us informed and keeps elected officials aware of those they serve,”said Nick Hartman, senior and Student Council President

While undeniably standing as a civic responsibility, voting is, as aforementioned, a privileged right that United States citizens are able to experience, and it was hard-earned.

“Voting is the single most important thing anyone reading this newspaper will do this year,” said Mitchell Kline, social studies teacher. “For their right to do what we will do on Tuesday, American men and women have been thrown into prisons and beaten in the streets. For our right to do what we do on Tuesday. American men and women have crossed oceans and died in the mud. Strip away the cynicism and the ugliness and the scandals and the nonsense that has swirled around us during this campaign, and what you are left with is a chance for even the most ordinary people to join with millions of their compatriots to enact change.”

The idea that the United States had undergone difficult, and often treacherous, situations to gain the people the right to vote is both a patriotic one, and a reality.

“It’s the foundation of our entire society in America; the right to choose, how things go,” said todd Misenhelter, social studies teacher.

This election is the one that will determine who will elect the next swing-vote Supreme Court judge.

The website includes an article (“Trump or Clinton will be President. Here’s how to decide who to vote for”) that offers a comprehensive overlook of the necessity of voting in this particular election, because of the situation with the Supreme Court; the beliefs offered in the article make it seem as though the cruciality in participating in this election’s voting process is perhaps heightened.

The Supreme Court is made up of nine justices, who, once appointed, retain life tenure; in other words, they will hold office for the remainder of their lives, unless or until they resign, retire, or are impeached (which has yet to happen to any supreme court justice). Justice Scalia passed away in February of this year; because of his passing and absence on the Supreme Court, a new justice must be chosen. That new, permanent justice will be selected by the next President of the United States, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“This [election] is very important because of the Supreme Court, but this is more than just a Presidential election. This is an election for our Congress and the future of our state. This election is just as important in the state of Missouri as it is in the US,” Hartman said.

The thought that the next elected Presidential official will help to appoint such an important figure has caused some people to rethink the value of voting in this particular election.

“I think that it may be more important (to vote in this election), due to the fact that the Supreme Court justice will influence the next two generations of outcomes,” said Misenhelter.

Because of the intense nature of this Presidential election, the support for third party candidates – such as Gary Johnson, libertarian, or Jill Stein, green party – has vocally increased throughout social media platforms, such as Facebook, where one user commented: “I do not feel like voting third party is a wasted vote. I don’t know how else to register that neither of these candidates represent my priorities or values. A third party vote is my only option to send that message.”

“In a winner-takes-all system the strongest parties succeed, which is why America has historically been two party,” Hartman said. “If we changed our system to proportional representation, third parties would be more successful. So until the system changes, I don’t believe third party voting is beneficial, but I do believe people should vote for who they want.”

To advocate for a third party candidate may line up with one’s own personal beliefs, but not every person sees it as useful to vote for them, regardless.

“No, (it’s) not (beneficial) at all, because there won’t be as many votes for that third party candidate than there will be for the main party running,” said Haley Simpson, senior. Due to this, and other reasons, Simpson said, “I don’t think local elections are as corrupt as the Presidential election. (Voting in the Presidential election will matter) when the electoral college is abolished.”

Voting third party hasn’t always had the greatest track record of success, but as Hartman indicated and Kline believes, to vote one’s conscience with the third party is better than to not vote at all.

“Being informed and voting based on your beliefs matters. It isn’t pointless to vote for a third party if they believe what you believe – it’s pointless to do otherwise,” mentioned Kline. “Vote with your heart, and vote with your head, and most of all vote.”

2018-11-20T15:55:59+00:00November 7th, 2016|Opinion|